New Perfume Review ALTAIA Ombu- A Tree Grows in Rome

There are all kind of fabricated romance in perfume PR. It is nice when you meet the real thing and it leads to beautiful fragrance. Since 2004 Marina Sersale and Sebastian Alvarez Murena have been the creative directors behind the Eau D’Italie brand. That collection successfully goes for landscapes as perfume. A year ago, the two of them started a new line ALTAIA which stands for “A Long Time Ago In Argentina”. Doing a bit of genealogical digging Sig.ra Serale and Sig. Murena learned there were connections going back a few generations where their families connected in Argentina. The first three releases covered each of the great-grandfathers in Argentina and the early days of Sig.ra Sesale and Sig. Murena’s romance. The fourth release has just arrived, Ombu, and it is a love letter from Sig.ra Sersale to Sig. Murena.


Sebastian Alvarez Murena and Marina Sersale

When I met Sig.ra Sersale in Florence at Pitti 2015 as she was introducing ALTAIA I asked her how difficult it was working on such personal stories with a perfumer. Her response was that perfumer Daphne Bugey understood the emotion behind the briefs immediately. In the first three releases and now with Ombu, Mme Bugey is in full understanding of what is wanted in these fragrances.


Daphne Bugey

Ombu is the name of a giant spreading evergreen found on the Pampas of Argentina. It is underneath these shade trees where working Gauchos escape the sun. In another coincidence, there is a single Ombu growing in their hometown of Rome, Italy at the foot of Capitoline Hill. Ombu is a giant shade tree of a fragrance capturing the wide-open spaces of the Pampas, the spirit of the Guachos and a man who represents both to Sig.ra Sersale.


Ombu Tree

Pink pepper has become one of those almost too ubiquitous notes over the last year or so. It also gets used unartfully, often in overdose. For the beginning of Ombu Mme Bugey uses pink pepper which she pairs with sage. This forms an open grasslands accord. The sage provides most of the structure but the right amount of pink pepper creates a more expansive green. A springy Virginia cedar is the trunk of the tree. The soft earth at the base of the tree is re-created with amber and benzoin. A place to take a soothing nap to escape the midday sun.

Ombu has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

ALTAIA is a departure from the Eau D’Italie line because it carries more authentic humanity than a lot of perfumes. Sig.ra Sersale and Mme Bugey have made a fitting representation of Sig. Murena. Now turnabout is only fair to expect so I hope Sig. Murena and Mme Bugey are capturing Sig.ra Sersale for the next release.

Disclosure: this review was based on a sample provided by ALTAIA.

Mark Behnke